For weeks my fellow movie fans and I have talked about, wrote about, predicted, and anxiously awaited the Academy Awards and their celebration of the 2013 movie year. Well, just like that they have come and gone. On Sunday night Hollywood put on their best suits, best dresses, blinding bling, and headed to the biggest show of the year. Quite a bit of intrigue had built up leading up to show and we were left with plenty to talk about. So lets hop right into it. Here are a few thoughts in my Oscars Rundown:
- Overall it was a pretty predictable show once again. I and many others perfectly predicted the major writing, acting, directing categories as well as Best Picture. Why are the Academy Awards so predictable? Is it because of our easy access to all of the other awards shows which usually frames the Oscar winners? Or does it reveal something within the Academy’s voting system?
- “12 Years a Slave” joins the celebrated list of Oscar Best Picture winners. Personally I think “Gravity” is a better film, but I have no problem with “12 Years a Slave” winning. It has its flaws (I’m looking at you Brad Pitt) but it is still a powerful and piercing film that people will still be talking about 10 years from now.
- I loved seeing Alfonso Cuaron win the Oscar for Best Director. What he accomplished with “Gravity” was monumental. The visuals were jaw-dropping and what he and his crew did to advance special effects is incredible. But it is also an emotionally satisfying story that hooked me from the start. Cuaron was the anchor.
- “American Hustle” was tied with “Gravity” for the most nominations. In the end the David O. Russell ensemble piece went home empty-handed. Honestly I had no problem with that. For me “American Hustle” stands out only for its performances and they weren’t strong enough to beat out the more deserving ones. It’s a decent movie but it’s not one with much staying power.
- I have to say I was sorely disappointed with how the Best Documentary category turned out. “20 Feet from Stardom” won the Oscar and it’s a nice little film. But there is no way it is as powerful or as important as “The Square” or “The Art of Killing”.
- To my surprise Ellen DeGeneres wasn’t terrible. Her humor was a bit hit or miss but as a whole she was pretty good. She kept things lively and the participation she pulled from the audience was a lot of fun. She also managed several good laughs. Not the best host but better than I was expecting.
- Bummed that “Nebraska” didn’t take home at least one Oscar but to be honest it wasn’t surprising. It was a long shot for every category it was nominated in. Still it was a tremendous film featuring a wonderful story, really good performances, and gorgeous cinematography. I’m thankful Oscar at least recognized it with some nominations.
- This was an Oscar night of wonderful speeches. The two real standouts came from Lupita Nyong’o and Matthew McConaughey. Nyong’o poured out her heart and everyone could sense the appreciation and pure joy through her words. McConaughey was just a blast. He talked about what inspired him. He made it personal and heartfelt by thanking God and his family. These were just two of the many great speeches.
- I’m still frustrated over “The Hunt” not earning more than one Oscar nomination. I was even more bummed when it lost out in its lone category – Best Foreign Language Film. “The Hunt” was a phenomenal film and it deserved a lot more recognition from the Academy than it was given.
- Cate Blanchett was one of the more obvious winners of the night but it was such a well deserved win. She was incredible to watch as she fleshed out her fractured and emotionally complex character. Blanchett also gave us a great acceptance speech which was a real treat.
- Everyone knew Jared Leto was going to win the Best Supporting Actor Oscar so it came as no surprise when his name was announced. But I still wanted Michael Fassbender to get it. Leto was good but it was Fassbender’s work that had the bigger effect on me out of the two. Hopefully Fassy won’t have to wait a long time to win like someone else we know (right Leo?).
- I gotta admit the mass “selfy” (which was photo-bombed by Kevin Spacey) was actually pretty funny. It certainly brought a brief halt to my live tweeting!
- Family seemed to be a reoccurring theme throughout the Oscars. So many “thank you’s” went out to family members but there were also many people who brought their mothers, fathers, daughters, brothers, or sisters with them. It was really cool to see.
- Some people don’t care for the “In Memorium” segment of the Oscars but I actually love them. So many greats were mentioned including Fontaine, Ebert, Gandolfini, Temple-Black, Hoffman, and Ramis just to name a few. But may I ask where was Dennis Farina??? Seriously Academy???
- Wasn’t a bit weird that the Razzie winning actor Will Smith was selected to present the Best Picture Oscar?
- The Oscars are always criticized for going so long and ending so late. Here’s a possible solution. Don’t wait to start the show at 8:30 Eastern/7:30 Central. I know it’s out on the West Coast but I bet the celebs could get there a little earlier.
- I would have loved to hear John Travolta announce Chiwetel Ejiofor!
So those are just a few thoughts on cinema’s biggest night of the year. What stood out to you? Did you enjoy the show? Please take some time to share your thoughts on this year’s Academy Awards. They will be back around before you know it. See you then!